Explore Amalfi Coast: Eat, rest, play

Just like Homer’s sirens, the superyacht set return to the Amalfi Coast again and again, seduced by its combination of glamour, gastronomy, culture and natural beauty. Not the first to be drawn to the vertiginous coastline, they follow in the footsteps of countless writers, composers, European royalty and Hollywood elite before them, all who have succumbed to the allure of its achingly beautiful scenery and culture.

 

From the ancient ruins of Pompeii, the iconic islands of Capri and Ischia, and the picturesque hilltop towns of Amalfi, Sorrento, Positano and Ravello, the Amalfi Coast was seemingly made for the waterborne. Discover hidden treasures as you cruise along the Italian coastline.

Bursts of colour in Positano
Bursts of colour in Positano

The view from Gardini di Augusto in Capri
The view from Gardini di Augusto in Capri

Best beaches along the Amalfi Coast

Due to its vertiginous topography, the beaches that line the Amalfi Coast are few and far between, so the valuable stretches of shingle and sands can be very crowded throughout the summer season. However, there are a handful of small coves accessible only by boat which are perfect for the fortunate few exploring the area by yacht. For example, Laurito Beach is home to the Da Adolfo beach shack, while further along the coast the rocky beach of La Gavitella is located at the bottom of 350 steps. It is therefore less frequented and the perfect spot to enjoy the last rays of the evening sun.

 

For those looking to be part of the action while avoiding the crowds, taking the tender ashore to dine at some of the fine waterside restaurants for long, lazy lunches allows you to experience the dolce vita lifestyle. The grey-shingle beach that sits at the footstep of Positano is always buzzing, with restaurants and bars lining the curve of sand. Just along the coast you can anchor off the beautiful Nerano Bay and take the tender ashore to the Conca Del Sogno beach club, or cruising towards Amalfi drop anchor for an afternoon at the Beach Club Santa Caterina. However you wish to spend your day, aboard or ashore, there are plenty of things to do while cruising along the Amalfi Coast.

Swimming and snorkelling along the Amalfi Coast

The Amalfi Coast is home to a number of beautiful swimming and snorkelling spots, with hidden beaches and caves lapped by waters that change colour throughout the day and dancing lightshows as the sun reflects off the cavernous rocks. The waters surrounding the three small islands known as Li Galli are believed to be where Homer’s Sirens sang songs, luring passing sailors so close to the islands that their ships drifted onto the rocks. The crystal clear waters are home to spectacular snorkelling spots and provide plenty of swimming opportunities.

 

Another popular swimming spot along the Amalfi Coast is the Grotta dello Smeraldo, named after the green light that filters into the cave. Accessible only by boat, arrive early or late to avoid the crowds of day trippers on guided tours.

Wonderful swimming in the protected nature reserve of the Li Galli islands
Wonderful swimming in the protected nature reserve of the Li Galli islands

Cultural highlights along the Amalfi Coast

The Amalfi Coast is wonderfully rich with culture. From the Grotta delle Matera which lies just off Positano, and the pretty cove of Marina di Crapolla, where Roman-villa ruins remain on the beach, to the Duomo in Amalfi which dominates the Piazza of the same name, there are historic sites aplenty. The flamboyant Duomo of Amalfi (cathedral) is one of the most popular with its imposing, striped façade and huge bronze doors dating back to 1066.

Amalfi's spectacular Duomo in the main piazza
Amalfi's spectacular Duomo in the main piazza

The Duomo di Ravello dates back to the 11th century
The Duomo di Ravello dates back to the 11th century

Detail of Villa Rufolo, built by a wealthy merchant family in the 13th century
Detail of Villa Rufolo, built by a wealthy merchant family in the 13th century
The beautiful gardens of Villa Cimbrone, Ravello
The beautiful gardens of Villa Cimbrone, Ravello

The Duomo of Ravello is equally impressive with its huge bronze doors and marble pulpits adorned with mosaics. Ravello is also where you will find the famous villas estates and spectacular gardens of the Villa Rufolo and Villa Cimbrone (the latter of which is now a hotel). Then of course there is the coastlines proximity to the UNESCO archaeological site of Pompeii and the preserved ruins of Herculaneum, perfect for a Sorrento day trip.

Spectacular scenery along the Amalfi Coast

There is plenty of opportunity to take in the coastal views while cruising along Amalfi’s jagged coast that stretches south from the peninsula of Sorrento. Best of all, by far and away, the most beautiful views are gained by sea, and from the decks of a superyacht even better.

 

Pastel coloured villas sit suspended over the water, grottoes and caves are tucked into the cliffs, and slivers of sand and pebble are lapped by crystal clear waters that twinkle into life at night. Anchor in a different place each evening – one of the joys of being on a yacht is to wake up with a new view every morning.

The town of Conca dei Marini in Amalfi
The town of Conca dei Marini in Amalfi

Highlights of the Amalfi Coast

Amalfi

The namesake town of the entire coastline, Amalfi was once the capital of a powerful maritime republic that once rivalled cities such as Genoa and Venice. An earthquake destroyed the city in 1143, and it became a pretty fishing town, no larger in size than Positano or Ravello. However, it has since attracted visitors to its 9th Century cathedral and central square where you can take a seat in one of the restaurants and watch the early evening passeggiata.

Looking east towards the valley town of Amalfi
Looking east towards the valley town of Amalfi

Once the seat of a powerful maritime force, the town was destroyed by a tsunami in 1343 and became a fishing village
Once the seat of a powerful maritime force, the town was destroyed by a tsunami in 1343 and became a fishing village

Sorrento

Sorrento has a deeply dramatic setting
Sorrento has a deeply dramatic setting

Bustling Piazza Tasso at the heart of Sorrento
Bustling Piazza Tasso at the heart of Sorrento

Dramatically perched on cliffs, the town of Sorrento is the liveliest of the coastal towns. Step ashore and follow in the footsteps of the well-to-do northern Europeans who included the town as part of the 18th Century Grand Tour. Climb to the clifftop terraced walkways of the Museo Correale di Terranova for rewarding views over the Bay of Naples and your yacht anchored below.

Positano

Across the Gulf of Salerno from Sorrento, the charming town of Positano is so beautiful it has inspired many famous artists, including Picasso. During the peak of the dolce vita era (late 1950s) it rivalled Capri for glamour, but today it attracts a more sedate crowd. Blessed with four beaches and a marina, there are plenty of things to do in Positano when visiting by yacht. It is the perfect place to spend an afternoon at anchor and ashore before heading up to the terrace of Le Sirenuse for an aperitif, stopping to browse the elegant boutiques along the way.

Beautiful views of Positano's Church of St Mary of the Assumption from the terrace of La Sirenuse
Beautiful views of Positano's Church of St Mary of the Assumption from the terrace of La Sirenuse

Positano's beach, the town's focal point, is a big attraction
Positano's beach, the town's focal point, is a big attraction

Pompeii

The ruins of the city lie in the shadow of Mount Etna
The ruins of the city lie in the shadow of Mount Etna

Its dusty fate served to preserve much of the city
Its dusty fate served to preserve much of the city

A short day trip from Sorrento, the UNESCO Roman City of Pompeii is full of drama and excitement, tragedy and fear. Lost for 1,700 years after being buried under volcanic ash from the eruption of Vesuvius in AD79, it was rediscovered in 1749 and was part of the Grand Tour. Its pathways are well-trodden but its ancient alleyways remain awe-inspiring, providing much of our knowledge of the Roman Empire and their way of life.

Capri

Across from the Sorrento peninsula, the island of Capri is beautiful by day, but it really comes into its own by night. Capri town’s Piazetta is the island’s heart and the ultimate place for peoplewatching. A maze of tiny, immaculate streets house chic boutiques selling designer bikinis and Capri sandals (the latter made famous by Jackie Kennedy). Take a front row seat at one of the squares café-bars to witness the daily evening passeggiata.

Cafes line the Piazzeta di Capri with views across the Bay of Naples
Cafes line the Piazzeta di Capri with views across the Bay of Naples

Looking south east from the Osservatorio Solare towards the Faraglioni
Looking south east from the Osservatorio Solare towards the Faraglioni

Capri's famous Blue Grotto, caves in the cliffs on the island's north western tip
Capri's famous Blue Grotto, caves in the cliffs on the island's north western tip

Marina Grande on the northern coast, overlooked by Mount Solaro
Marina Grande on the northern coast, overlooked by Mount Solaro

The whole island, and in particular Capri town, is extremely busy during the summer, while Anacapri is much quieter and calmer, though still lively enough to have a buzzing atmosphere. Capri’s famous Blue Grotto can be crowded and so if you have the opportunity to wait until the early evening, when the day trippers have departed, you will have a far more unique experience. It is also worth asking your Burgess charter broker and captain to book the Marina Grande as early as possible as it is one of the hardest harbours in the Mediterranean to obtain a berth, especially in July and August. 

Ischia

The mountainous and volcanic island of Ischia, which lies just southwest of Naples, has been drawing travellers to its thermal spas and the beneficial properties of its hot springs since Roman times. However, aside from its spa appeal, Ischia has many other attractions, including the stunning gardens of La Mortella and the historical monument Castello Aragonese.

Bougainvillea frames this image of Sant'Angelo on Ischia
Bougainvillea frames this image of Sant'Angelo on Ischia

The imposing Castello Aragonese dates back to 474 BC
The imposing Castello Aragonese dates back to 474 BC

Ravello

Blissful views from Villa Rufolo in Ravello
Blissful views from Villa Rufolo in Ravello

The cliff top terrace at Ravello's Villa Cimbrone
The cliff top terrace at Ravello's Villa Cimbrone

The hilltop town of Ravello sits like a terrace over the sea, removed from the hustle and bustle below. It has a romantic sense of faded glory that has inspired a number of writers, artists and musicians since the days of the Grand Tour, most famously D.H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover. Today it is best known for its villa estate gardens including the romantic garden of Villa Rufolo that inspired Richard Wagner for his opera Parsifal. Nearby Villa Cimbrone is equally impressive with an extravagant garden and villa that has been turned into a hotel.

 

Experience the local cuisine

From Amalfi, Sorrento and Positano to Capri and Ischia, the Amalfi Coast is an epicurean route filled with countless edible treasures. Exceptional dishes are rooted in tradition and reinterpreted by Michelin-starred chefs (there are almost 30 Michelin-starred restaurants along the coastline) while family run trattorias centre around traditional seafood and pasta dishes with a Neapolitan twist. Scialatielli ai Frutti di Mare is the favoured speciality dish, but there are many more Mediterranean delights flavoured by local produce including San Marzano tomatoes and creamy buffalo mozzarella.

Cuppetiello Di Pesce

Burgess Yachts

An Amalfi classic, quite literally a ‘little cup of fish’ folded up into paper cones and filled with fried anchovy, calamari, prawns and scallops, spritzed with lemon – the ultimate street food.

Delizia Al Limone

Burgess Yachts

The best lemons in the world arguably come from the Amalfi Coast and the Campania region’s favourite desert uses them in quantities. Comprising a dome shaped sponge cake soaked in limoncello syrup, filled with a lemon cream and covered with a lemon zest frosting, served chilled.

Pesce All'Acqua Pazza

Burgess Yachts

Literally translating as 'crazy water' this dish is a simple combination of fish (catch of the day), tomatoes, olive oil and herbs in a white wine, mopped up with bread.

Scialatielli Con Gamberi E Zucchine

Burgess Yachts

A Neapolitan wide pasta with a seafood based sauce served with baby zucchini and shrimp, and sometimes mussels, prawns and clams.

Insalata caprese

Burgess Yachts

A simple salad made with sliced fresh mozzarella, tomatoes and sweet basil seasoned with salt and olive oil.

Scialatielli ai Frutti di Mare

Burgess Yachts

The most traditional of Amalfi dishes, comprising mussels, prawns, clams and sea truffles, seasoned with a handful of olives, capers and tomatoes.

Where to dine

Capri
Il Riccio, Capri Palace Hotel
L’Olivo, Capri Palace Hotel (**)

Positano

La Sponda, Le Sirenuse Hotel
La Sponda, Le Sirenuse Hotel

La Serra, Hotel Le Agavi (*)

Where to dine

Ravello
Rosselinis (*)
Sorrento

Don Alfonso 1890 (**)
Don Alfonso 1890 (**)

Amalfi

Il Refettorio, Monastero Santa Rosa, Conca dei Marini (*)
Il Refettorio, Monastero Santa Rosa, Conca dei Marini (*)

Glicine, Hotel Santa Caterina (*)

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